Thursday, March 12, 2009

Promised Conspiracy Thread

Today, I stopped by the comic shop and ended up stepping into an unexpected conversation about Illuminati conspiracies. Since I can't speak in html with handy clickable links (and my throat wears out), I promised my opponent a thread where we could talk and gave her the blog address. I believe it started with the nature of money.

Anyway, I'd like to lay down a few ground rules in addition to my regular comment policy, for the sake of keeping the conversation focused:

1. No revealing of "meatspace" information. I like my pseudonymity, and would rather not have my unpopular opinions linked with my real name, since employers sometimes snoop when they shouldn't and end up discriminating. Perfectly all right for anyone to post under a pseudonym. Just please don't post as "Anonymous" because it's easy for multiple people to do that.

2. Stick to one subject at a time. I've run into lots of people who change the subject constantly just so that they can declare victory when they move into a red herring I'm not immediately familiar with.

32 comments:

King of Ferrets said...

Fun. Conspiracies.

Tom Foss said...

Hurm.

Akusai said...

I once conspired to overthrow the government of Luxembourg and replace it with a puppet oligarchy of my own hand-picked rulers. I kept the secret so well that nobody else at all knew about it. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, because I don't live anywhere near Luxembourg.

Valhar2000 said...

When is your opponent coming?

Bronze Dog said...

Don't know.

Debra said...

Hi! How are you? That was something,wasn't it. I was both exhausted and hyper when I left the store. I have read some of yours and your friends posts, and I don't think that I am near your intellectual banter. I am better with arguments in person.

Bronze Dog said...

Welcome to the thread. Feel free to pick a starting topic.

Debra said...

I wouldn't know where to begin. Did you google or youtube anything that we talked about. I'd like to know what you are thinking.

Bronze Dog said...

The topic I've got the most handy references on is the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory.

As for the various groups supposedly in control, I tend more towards pointing out fundamental fallacies and difficulties, such as the administrative difficulties with carrying out large operations.

Debra said...

If you looked up the Rothchilds, Illuminati, Bilderberg Group and Bohemian Grove then I think that you wouldn't spend another hour arguing about it but would feel that you were awake and would try to awaken others,
Today I worked on my preparations, I bought $200 worth of canned food, and spoke the truth to a friend of mine from High School that I hadn't seen in years. She was already angry with Obama and losing our Constitution so I saw that she was starting to wake up and so we talked awhile. Not as long as you and I did though.!

Debra said...

Hello?

Debra said...

Hey... I am gonna log off soon if I don't hear back from you. Just letting you know that I am interested in what you have to say .

Bronze Dog said...

I've heard a large number of people from all sorts of things claim that I'd get some sort of epiphany from going through whatever they're selling. Usually, I find it's a sign to prepare to be underwhelmed.

Illuminati: I usually find the stories attached to it are too diverse to be taken seriously. You may want to specify one location to get information. Google searches are blind to quality.

Bilderberg Group: Not seeing much beyond the standard political fare so far.

Bohemian Grove: Raised an eyebrow at the mention of the Manhattan Project having a planning meeting there, but given that people will actually talk about that meeting with pride, it sounds like they aren't that big on secrecy. Just some possible snobbery.

Currently watching Bleach on Adult Swim. Code Geass is next. I'll likely continue with some more in the morning.

Tom Foss said...

If you looked up the Rothchilds, Illuminati, Bilderberg Group and Bohemian Grove then I think that you wouldn't spend another hour arguing about it but would feel that you were awake and would try to awaken others,

This betrays a couple of the interesting fallacies common to conspiracy theorists (and other woos, of course):
1. You're assuming we haven't done the research, and you find it impossible that someone could do the research and be unconvinced.
2. You're arrogantly asserting absolute certainty, calling yourself "awake" and speaking "the truth."
3. You seem to think that "arguing about it" is a bad thing, rather than a way of testing hypotheses and arriving at valid conclusions, the way it is in reasonable pursuits.

This might be a good time to bring up the DeAngelis-Novella Postulates, characteristics of conspiracy theories:
"1) The evil side. These people have access to vast amounts of power, transcend governments, have access to superior science, command vast organizational structures, and yet also are in the habit of making primary mistakes so obvious any schlub can see the errors. For example, the moon is a dry lifeless world and yet Buzz Aldrin clearly has mud on his boots! So man never went to the moon.

2) The sheeple. The vast majority of the population have no idea about the conspiracy, keep their head down, and are being led like lambs to the slaughter.

3) The army of light. These are the people who have seen the truth. It is there sacred duty to expose the conspiracy and bring it down. Those who don't recognize the light of reason, when presented, are either part of the conspiracy or they're committed sheeple."

The elements in the postulates make for good drama and a great story, but not so much for reality.

With regard to the conspiracy theories you've mentioned, I've seen a lot of the claims, which are very good at cherry-picking otherwise unrelated facts, decontextualizing them, and building a narrative around them. What I haven't seen is any evidence to support the outlandish claims.

But it's hard to rebut "look up these three names"...care to provide any specific claims, rather than just generalizations?

She was already angry with Obama and losing our Constitution so I saw that she was starting to wake up and so we talked awhile.

Um...where's the connection between "being angry with Obama" and "losing our Constitution"? What has Obama done to eliminate the Constitution? And how does it measure up to the last eight years of an administration deliberately flouting every Amendment and provision for checks and balances in the whole document? I'll see your "hundred days of Obama" and raise you "warrantless wiretaps," "executive privilege," "signing statements," and "faith-based initiatives."

debra said...

It's not hard to look up these three names. But it takes a lot of time.
Also you say that I am assume that you haven't done the research and yet you ask what has Obama done to rid of us of the Constitution??? You take away the 2nd Amendment and the rest follow. Whether you are for contol of guns or in favor of your right to bear them, this should make you angry as an American.
Also, hey I was a Democrat all of my life and was so embarrassed by Bush. Reps or Dems they are all the same. I am talking about Obama now because he is the President. Bush is out and we all know what rights of ours he destroyed and we did nothing about it. Our American ancestors would be so ashamed of us.

Tom Foss said...

It's not hard to look up these three names. But it takes a lot of time.

Yes, but where do I look up information? What should I be looking for? I can look up the Rothschilds and Bilderbergs, but chances are I'm going to find things that don't fit what you believe; I'm not going to sit here arguing the absurdity of claiming that the Rothschilds are lizard-men from the center of the Earth if that's not what you believe. Tell me what you believe and why; I can't converse with you meaningfully if I'm arguing against someone else's beliefs based on Googled research.

And I think it's safe to say that no one else could either.

Also you say that I am assume that you haven't done the research and yet you ask what has Obama done to rid of us of the Constitution??? You take away the 2nd Amendment and the rest follow.

When did Obama take away the 2nd Amendment? Last time I checked, that would require another Constitutional Amendment, which would therefore require either two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress or an application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states, followed by ratification by three-fourths of the states. I haven't voted in any special Constitutional elections lately; have you?

While I think Bush & Co. did an awful lot to piss all over the Constitution, and the Congress was complicit in it, and while they blatantly ignored the fourth, fifth, and first amendments (among other parts of the Constitution), nowhere did they "take away" any part of the Constitution, nor will the effects they've had withstand the scrutiny of judicial review. If their assaults on every Amendment other than the Second didn't end up removing the Constitution, then Obama's alleged assault on that one won't either.

Care to back up your claim that Obama has taken away the 2nd Amendment with something other than blustery rhetoric?

Also, hey I was a Democrat all of my life and was so embarrassed by Bush. Reps or Dems they are all the same.

If they're all the same, then why choose sides? I happen to have opinions on things like science, energy independence, gun control, abortion rights, separation of church and state, censorship, net neutrality, war, universal healthcare, GLBT rights, drug decriminalization, and so forth, which are all issues on which the parties differ. While I understand that politicians are wont to play politics, and while I lament the spinelessness of the Democratic majority, I really can't see how anything beyond the most superficial assessment can lead one to conclude "they are all the same." Yes, except for their diametrically opposed positions on important issues that affect our lives, they are exactly the same.

I am talking about Obama now because he is the President.

That's the most bizarre statement yet. Are you just categorically against whoever holds that office? You seem to invest in them a unitary power that Dick Cheney could only dream of, and to ignore the actual actions the President(s) are able to (and actually do) take.

Our American ancestors would be so ashamed of us.

And we should be ashamed of them, for not recognizing that slavery was universally wrong, for not recognizing that women and men without property were people too, for not codifying the power of judicial review even after using it early on in the country's history, and so forth. There's plenty of shame to go around, and our American ancestors were no saints or prophets. They were human beings, with faults and foibles, just like the people running the country today, and totally unlike the unthinking, uncaring, cold, calculating, perfectly-coordinated, hyper-competent but completely inept shadow-person conspirators who control the world in your paranoid fantasy.

debra said...

I know that you are afraid. It was the worst two days of my life researching this back in October. But I am not afraid anymore. There is nothing I or you can do to stop the Rothschilds But as they come to power "in the open", we can store food and ammo, so that those we love won't suffer as much as those who did not prepare.
I think that you must be afraid right now of seeing that video. Maybe you watched it for a minute and then turned it off. I mean it's only historical fact.
Also, I am neither a rep or dem but a member of the Libertarian and Constitutionalist party.

Akusai said...

Y'know, I've read lots of Jim Marrs' crazy, unhinged, paranoid conspiracy rantings as well as lots of other X-Files bullshit down the years. Unlike some of my skeptical brethren (and sistren, I suppose), I immediately recognized all of the names you dropped and knew right where to look.

So, quickly now:

The Rothschilds (vis a vis the Trilateral Commission).

Incidentally, they let fucking Penthouse in back in '77 to write an article on the goings-on. I read it on the john at my grandpa's a few years ago (why he had a 30-year-old issue of Penthouse next to his toilet I'll never know, and I don't think I want to). What an amazing, world-governing conspiracy; they let a titty magazine write them up. Such attention to the cover-up.

The Bohemian Club

Rich guys in the woods with no security. It is apparently not only possible but incredibly easy to infiltrate the Bohemian Grove by just fucking walking through the woods and pretending you're supposed to be there. Such secret-keepers.

The Bilderbergers, giving an open interview to BBC World News and talking candidly about the fact that yes, they do try to help out politicians they like.

Massive NWO conspiracy, or political lobby and support group made up of rich dudes (like, you know, every other lobby/major source of campaign funds for politicians)? You decide.

The upshot is, Debra m'dear, that "gathering of rich and/or old and/or white men" =/= "secret, world-governing conspiracy." Sometimes things really just are what they appear to be, and just because you don't know what's going on behind the doors means that someone is secretly plotting your demise.

As for the Illuminati, that's such a joke all I can do is laugh that you think it's around. At least the other three groups that you named exist. The Illuminati? Seriously? Where are they located? Atlantis, or the lost continent of Mu?

As for

I know that you are afraid.

When I was 15, and I bought all of this bullshit hook, line, and sinker, yes, I was afraid. But I'm not 15 anymore, Debra.

debra said...

Alright already!!!
Don't 'buy it'.
But I tell you that while you insist that it cannot be, there are thousands out there on the internet who are trying to warn you. I can see that those of you that have responded tonight just want to make this into something personal about me.I know that it has to be hard for a group of people who spend a lot of their time debunking conspiracies to find out that there is a matrix after all. I can't tell you how this has interfered with my life and the neat plans I had. I also have a wonderful son. And just last year I spent 3 months in Hawaii. Now what.

debra said...

Alright already!!!
Don't 'buy it'.
But I tell you that while you insist that it cannot be, there are thousands out there on the internet who are trying to warn you. I can see that those of you that have responded tonight just want to make this into something personal about me.I know that it has to be hard for a group of people who spend a lot of their time debunking conspiracies to find out that there is a matrix after all. I can't tell you how this has interfered with my life and the neat plans I had. I also have a wonderful son. And just last year I spent 3 months in Hawaii. Now what.

debra said...

Alright already!!!
Don't 'buy it'.
But I tell you that while you insist that it cannot be, there are thousands out there on the internet who are trying to warn you. I can see that those of you that have responded tonight just want to make this into something personal about me.I know that it has to be hard for a group of people who spend a lot of their time debunking conspiracies to find out that there is a matrix after all. I can't tell you how this has interfered with my life and the neat plans I had. I also have a wonderful son. And just last year I spent 3 months in Hawaii. Now what.

Akusai said...

Alright already!!!
Don't 'buy it'.


Okay, I won't.

But I tell you that while you insist that it cannot be,

Straw man. We aren't saying it cannot be. We are saying that it is highly unlikely and that there isn't any convincing evidence whatsoever to make us think that anything you are saying is true.

there are thousands out there on the internet who are trying to warn you.

Appeal to popularity. There are also thousands on the internet trying to convince me that drinking pure water will cure cancer, or that Allah is the one true god.

I can see that those of you that have responded tonight just want to make this into something personal about me.

No, you want to think that we are making it something personal about you because then you can easily dismiss our arguments. If we're just "mean" then we didn't really say anything of substance and you don't have to listen. Your dismissal is insulting to the arguments people have actually put forward here and says far more about you than about any of us.

But (and here's the rub) anything says about you doesn't have thing one to do with the veracity of your claims. Their lack of plausibility and confirmatory evidence stands (or falls, as is the case) on its own. If you're a silly, credulous bint, too, well, that's just icing on the cake.

I know that it has to be hard for a group of people who spend a lot of their time debunking conspiracies to find out that there is a matrix after all.

You have said exactly nothing convincing enough to make us take the red pill. So far you have name-dropped, offered vague generalizations, and made bald assertions without once offering any actual reasoning or evidence for your position. We have "found out" nothing except perhaps further confirmation that conspiracy theorists have nothing to bring to the table except personal paranoia and poor arguments.

I can't tell you how this has interfered with my life and the neat plans I had.

Sounds like an excuse to me. My life hasn't exactly gone to plan, either, but it's not because of the shadowy black ops Spook Show. Sometimes shit happens.

But, more to the point, how has it interfered with your life? Cars follow me for multiple turns sometimes, and sometimes I notice it, but I don't start hyperventilating and get myself all worked up to the point where it interferes with my life. Because no matter how many cars happen to follow me for a block or two over the course of my daily drivings, not a one of them ever actually changes anything that's gone on in my life. My life is the same, conspiracy or not, so even if there is a conspiracy, what's the difference? And how can you tell?

And surely if it's more than simple anxiety caused by your belief in the shadow government, then you can offer more than vague claims and crackpot YouTube videos. If these conspiracies have affected your life in major, tangible ways, how have they done so? Have the MIB showed up at your house? Have you been abducted by black helicopters threatening you with harm if you don't keep silent? Have your assets been frozen unless you shut your mouth?

Again, we come to the ultimate disproof: the existence of many extremely vocal conspiracy theorists belies the very conspiracies they claim exist.

I also have a wonderful son.

I'm happy for you. I mean that completely unironically. I'm glad you have a great son and, presumably, a great relationship with him. But I don't see what this has to do with anything.

But, just to make a point, how do you know your son is your son, and not a child switched by the shadow government in the hospital with a GPS tracker embedded in the base of his skull so the Spook Show can keep closer tabs on you?

You'll probably say that such an idea is ridiculous. Preposterous. But given your standards for belief in all other aspects of globe-spanning conspiracy, why?

Of course, you might say "I've thought of that, and dismissed it." On what grounds?

And if you say "I've thought of that, and it still bothers me," then what kind of life will you be giving your son if you're constantly worried he might be a puppet of the conspirators?

And just last year I spent 3 months in Hawaii. Now what.

No, not "Now what?" The question is "So what?"

debra said...

Yeah, you're good at this. And you are mean.
To answer you, I inherited a great deal of wealth and I intended on enjoying myself with some of it. I was thinking about Safaris, Alaska, the Cook Islands.... But for the past 5 months I have been buying supplies for when TSHTF. I have a stockpile now of canned food, with 27 cases of freeze dried food on the way, first aid, top of the line purifier, etc. etc. etc. etc.
And about my son... well you could say that I had dreams for him. And now to know that no matter how much I spend on supplies one day it will run out. He will be hungry, so very hungry and he will be afraid.

Akusai said...

So stop stockpiling and take trips! Your paranoid behavior is not a tangible effect of a super-secret conspiratorial cabal of powerful rich men with foul designs for mothers across the globe!

I could horde food and say it's because I fear our alien overlords. Or because I think that the apocalypse is immanent, but I don't think I'll be raptured. Or because I forsee a mass goat migration and want to be able to placate them with as many tin cans as possible so they spare me while devouring my screaming, unprepared neighbors.

You're using circular reasoning. You're saying that your proof of the conspiracy is your hording behavior, but then you turn around and say that you horde food because of the conspiracy. Sooner or later this hose of cards will come tumbling down.

Why do you horde food? That is the question. What has made you so sure of your conclusions that you are wasting your money stockpiling non-perishables? Because if it's that bad, then it certainly must be some strong, convincing evidence.

Just because you horde food doesn't mean someone's out to get you. That is not a tangible effect of a conspiracy. That is idiosyncratic behavior from somebody who should probably seek psychiatric help.

Where is your evidence?

debra said...

I think that you may already know the evidence, it's just your job in life to take things apart. How did you learn of this and "bought it" at 15 and why do you state that that you are not afraid. Also please answer this, in your research on debunking the Illuminati or religion etc., have you ever uncovered any information that changed your opinion. And if you found this info and it went against everything that your peers believed in, would you pass it on to them anyway.

Valhar2000 said...

Yeah, Debra, them skeptics is tough dudes.

But you can beleive Akusai when he says that it is not personal. It really isn't, even if on casual observation it seems that way.

Akusai said...

First of all, there is no evidence. Stop referring to it and show it.

And I only pick things apart if they are pick-apartable. Your claims are hardly even that because you've hardly claimed anything at all short of telling us how bad it is and how afraid we should be. What are these people doing? Where? How? How do you know it? Why should we believe you?

But you know what? I've said it before with true bleevers here at The Bronze Blog, and I'll say it again: I don't need to justify my doubt to you in the face of underwhelming evidence, and I'm not going to play your game. Either you have some evidence that what you say is true or you're a paranoid delusional trying to get everyone else to hop on the crazy train by blowing smoke up your asses.

The ball is in your court. You are the claimant. Present your evidence. Engage in real dialogue and perhaps we'll talk back to you like you're something other than a complete waste. No more tangential nonsense, no more psychoanalysis.

Defend your claims or withdraw them.

Jimmy_Blue said...

Debra:

I just want to be completely clear on this because others have brought it up and you have ignored it.

Here you are quite vocally and clearly telling us who is involved in this conspiracy. You direct us to extremely visible and widely accessible videos on the internet that you think lay the conspiracy bear. All on the internet.

You claim the government is taking over the internet.

You claim this shadowy conspiracy has the resources to follow you to your comic book store and home again whenever they want.

Presumably you think this conspiracy has the power to take over the world or has already done so/is doing so.

And yet, they can't stop you or these other people posting on the internet. And the posts remain after the fact and are not removed even when they are widely known about.

And you don't see any contradiction here?

Rothschilds/Illuminati/Bilderberg/Elvis/aliens/ Hitler and now Obama. They can control the world, take over the internet, kill who they want, fake what they want and run a multinational global conspiracy involving thousands if not millions of people without anyone finding out (except for our heroes of course). But they can't stop a comic book reading mum posting on the internet or get YouTube to take down an amateur video.

Fuck me, Uri Geller got YouTube to take down videos, but your conspiracy protaganists can't?

If you can't see how this is a problem then I have some advice:

Please do yourself and your child a favour and seek immediate and effective psychiatric treatment.

Then go and enjoy life.

Tom Foss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Foss said...

Debra: I know that you are afraid.

More unreliable knowledge, Debra. I'm not afraid, nor do I ever think I'll be afraid of a cabal of humans with perfect competence, perfect coordination, infinite resources, infinite manpower, and unlimited power. I'd have to see some pretty compelling evidence to overturn everything I've ever seen to be true of human nature and human organizations. In other words, I'm more likely to be afraid of Vampires.

There is nothing I or you can do to stop the Rothschilds But as they come to power "in the open", we can store food and ammo, so that those we love won't suffer as much as those who did not prepare.

What are the Rothschilds supposedly doing that will require us to stockpile food and ammo? And why will stockpiling food and ammo help us if they succeed? Since they already know about people like you, how do you know they're not putting mind control chemicals into canned goods or altering your ammunition so they can trigger a signal to make the bullets expland in the chambers, making them useless? If there's nothing we can do to stop them, why bother even talking about it? Why not just enjoy the ride? Do you realize that if you replace "conspiracy" with "God" and "Rothschilds" with "Antichrist," you sound exactly like a fundamentalist Armageddon worshipper?

I think that you must be afraid right now of seeing that video.

No, I just don't want to waste half an hour waiting for a video to load, only for it to be a kook rambling for five minutes and to have you throw up ten more videos for me to watch after I'm done.

Maybe you watched it for a minute and then turned it off.

No, really, I didn't watch it. Not at all. Not yet, anyway.

I mean it's only historical fact.

Historical fact that you haven't bothered to discuss in any detail. I mean, you could list the major points--especially since these are supposedly things that you believe--rather than just talking in generalities. Again, this is like talking to a fundamentalist--"go read the Bible, in context, then you'll understand what I mean." No original ideas, just references to outside sources. When I talk about, say, evolution, of course I'm going to link to experts, but I can at least articulate what I accept beyond "if you looked up fossils, DNA, homology, and Tiktaalik roseae, then I think you wouldn't spend another hour arguing about it." Why do you seem incapable of explaining what you believe in any detail, instead directing us to other people's beliefs, other people's claims, other people's videos?

Also, I am neither a rep or dem but a member of the Libertarian and Constitutionalist party.

Gasp! Oh dear! Why, I never would have guessed! Please, allow me a moment to pick my monocle up off the floor. What, exactly, is it about libertarianism that draws in the conspiracy theorists in such droves? You'd think that a bunch of people who think the world is controlled by a secret cabal of bajillionaires would be more wary about putting their trust into rampant privatization and corporate control of social programs.

Akusai: Unlike some of my skeptical brethren (and sistren, I suppose), I immediately recognized all of the names you dropped and knew right where to look

Don't get me wrong, Akusai--I recognized the names as well (though I spent my teenage years more consulting people about how many things are in heaven and earth, and calling them "Horatio"), I just don't know which specific claims about those names Debra is making. I'm not going to examine the history of the Bavarian Illuminati if she thinks they're reptoids from Atlantis, and vice versa. Again, it's like arguing with a creationist; if they just say "just look up transitional fossils," I don't know whether they're claiming that the transitions aren't really transitions, or that there's irreducible complexity, or that the transitional fossils don't exist, or that the fossils were planted by Satan to turn us away from God. Before I can know which crazy claim to argue against, I have to have more information about what the individual's actual beliefs are.

Debra: But I tell you that while you insist that it cannot be, there are thousands out there on the internet who are trying to warn you.

Akusai dealt with the straw man part of this; we're perfectly willing to believe that these conspiracies could be real, we just haven't seen any evidence that they are real.

But as to the thousands of people on the Internet shouting their warnings, I have to wonder, who am I supposed to believe? There are thousands telling me that the world is going to end in 2012 due to some confluence of astrological signs and astronomical events, and Nostradamus and the Mayans predicted it all. There are thousands telling me that the Antichrist is on the rise, and any day now Jesus is going to come back and zap a bunch of stark naked fundies up to Heaven, leaving the rest of us behind to deal with a seven-year tribulation, during which most of the rest of the Earth's population will slowly die out. There are thousands telling me about an inevitable nuclear holocaust, which will cause such devastation that only very few living things will survive, most dying out in the long nuclear winter thereafter. There are thousands telling me that as soon as those lunkheads at Cern start sending particles around the accelerator, they're going to create a black hole or some strange matter, and the entire Earth will be destroyed in a matter of moments. And now there's you, Debra, telling me that some old rich white men control the world, and some shit's going to hit a fan of some sort, after which it will be useful to have stockpiles of twinkies and bullets.

But these aren't "warnings." If there's a common refrain to all of these prophecies of global doom, it's that the end of the world is coming, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. There's no Buffyesque "it's the end of the world, let's kick some butt" sentiment; there's no stopping the forces of evil from completing their plan, all we can do is hope we live through it to see the post-apocalyptic hell-on-Earth that comes after. That's not a warning, that's a sentence. A warning is "something bad is going to happen unless we do something to prevent it." You're saying we can't prevent it, so what good is the 'warning'? If the world really were going to end, if there really were nothing we could do to prevent the shit hitting the fan, then why bother stockpiling food and ammunition? Wouldn't you be much better off spending that money on traveling and having fun, enjoying the life you have until the end comes? Why would you assume that you're going to be one of the people who survives? What if you wasted all this time stockpiling, then you get croaked in the first wave of attacks? Wouldn't you feel like you'd wasted that time preparing to live instead of, you know, living?

And if the conspiracy is as far-reaching and all-knowing and resourceful as you suggest, then (again) how do you know that the stockpiled food and ammo will help you out? How do you know that the conspiracy doesn't have a tiny tracking device implanted in each canned and dehydrated food product, which will tell them which houses are the most well-prepared, so they can be attacked first? Or maybe they'll just trigger the devices and cause the food to spoil prematurely, leaving you just as beholden to their resources as everyone else. If the conspiracy has planned for as many contingencies as you suggest, then you can't know that stockpiling is going to be useful--maybe that's precisely what they want you to do.

I can see that those of you that have responded tonight just want to make this into something personal about me.

No, Debra, the only thing personal here is your idea that we should just believe you based on your (and your YouTube friends') say-so. We're asking for evidence, which is as objective and impersonal as you can get.

I know that it has to be hard for a group of people who spend a lot of their time debunking conspiracies to find out that there is a matrix after all.

I suppose it would be hard, but so far, I haven't seen any evidence that I'm living in a vat. And until I actually see some evidence, I'm not going to stockpile large amounts of robot-fighting gear.

I can't tell you how this has interfered with my life and the neat plans I had.

Why not? You know, this reminds me of that John Lennon quote: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

I also have a wonderful son. And just last year I spent 3 months in Hawaii. Now what.

I don't know, now what? Now, maybe continue taking fun trips like that vacation to Hawaii. Now, maybe don't make your son a paranoid wreck by telling him the armageddon's just around the corner. Now, maybe consider that you might be wrong in your beliefs, and that continuing on with this kind of baseless certainty doesn't provide a healthy environment for a young child. I mean, even assuming you're right, what do you think is going to be better for your son: living a good childhood and having lots of fun and fond memories before the end of the world, or spending his childhood in fear of an apocalype that he may survive anyway?

Akusai: So far you have name-dropped, offered vague generalizations, and made bald assertions without once offering any actual reasoning or evidence for your position.

More than that, she hasn't even articulated what her position is. She's Ollie Williams, prophet: "What's going to happen in the apocalypse, Ollie?" "Shit goin' down!"

Cars follow me for multiple turns sometimes, and sometimes I notice it, but I don't start hyperventilating and get myself all worked up to the point where it interferes with my life. Because no matter how many cars happen to follow me for a block or two over the course of my daily drivings, not a one of them ever actually changes anything that's gone on in my life.

That's a good point. You know, I followed a car for several miles yesterday, through multiple turns, and I felt a little bad about it. There wasn't any malice or suspicion on my part; we just happened to be going to from one small town to another through a series of rural roads. There are only so many roads in a given town, and thus only so many ways to get from one place to another. Just by sheer random chance, you're occasionally going to be driving behind or in front of someone who's going to the same general vicinity that you're going to; there's no need to attribute any intent to that sort of thing. Debra's jumping at shadows, seeing Men in Black where there's just Men Who Are Also Going To McDonald's.

Debra: I inherited a great deal of wealth and I intended on enjoying myself with some of it. I was thinking about Safaris, Alaska, the Cook Islands....But for the past 5 months I have been buying supplies for when TSHTF. I have a stockpile now of canned food, with 27 cases of freeze dried food on the way, first aid, top of the line purifier, etc. etc. etc. etc.

Again, why? I mean, in this economy, it's probably a good idea to be cutting back and saving some green (though if you're buying bulk baked beans, it doesn't sound like you're really doing that), but if you have the means to enjoy your life, why not use it? Yet again, it's like talking to a fundamentalist. They'll tell me to spend my time praying and repenting and converting the masses and so forth, so that when I die, I can be sure to make it to the happy place that may or may not happen. I'd rather spend my limited time doing the things I enjoy and being with the people I love, and working to make this world a better place for those I care about and those who will come after. I can't waste my time preparing for an afterlife I can't know about or an apocalypse that may never happen; we all have a limited amount of time here regardless, and it's a waste to spend it worrying and waiting.

And about my son... well you could say that I had dreams for him. And now to know that no matter how much I spend on supplies one day it will run out. He will be hungry, so very hungry and he will be afraid.

And how do you know that? What's going to happen that will apparently make food scarce?

I think that you may already know the evidence,

I don't. Honestly, I don't. If it's so compelling that you claim to absolute certainty about what's going to happen in the immediate future, then why can't you share it with us?

it's just your job in life to take things apart.

This is not my job. I would like nothing more than to make a comfortable living writing on skeptical topics, but sadly no one yet is willing to hire me for that. I think I speak for all of us when I say that this is somewhere between a hobby and a calling, where we spend our free time trying to educate and disseminate information that shows how to think critically. We take things apart; if those things are sound concepts based on good evidence and valid reasonsing, then even after we've taken them apart, we'll see that they're true--and that process of taking them apart and verifying them will be even better evidence for their truth.

How did you learn of this and "bought it" at 15 and why do you state that that you are not afraid.

I can't speak for Akusai, but I imagine we've all had beliefs we held when we were younger that we later left behind. Eventually, we recognize that those childish beliefs are based on bad reasoning or poor evidence, or we find new evidence that contradicts our beliefs, and we realize that there's no good reason to keep believing. As a kid, I may have been afraid that if I didn't behave, then Santa Claus wouldn't bring me any presents. But eventually, I realized that my belief in Santa Claus was mostly based on hearing jingling bells late at night and my parents telling me there were reindeer on the roof, and eventually I caught my parents filling the stockings, and so I left my belief in Santa behind. Once I discarded the belief, I no longer had reason to fear for coal. Children are gullible, and we don't develop mature critical faculties until well into adolescence (and even then, we don't know automatically how to use them). If we didn't discard beliefs as we got older, then we'd all still think that Santa was watching us sleep and child-carrying storks might visit us at any time.

And if you found this info and it went against everything that your peers believed in, would you pass it on to them anyway.

If I found compelling evidence that was extraordinary enough to convince me that a global conspiracy existed, despite all the existing reason and evidence against such a thing, I would certainly share it with other skeptics. Assuming it's "evidence" and not "an account of my personal experience," I imagine quite a lot of them would be convinced. If the evidence that convinced me was not reproducible in such a way that I could present it to others, then I can't exactly expect them to be convinced based on my word alone, even if my experience was genuine. Incidentally, I've watched all of your video except the last three minutes or so. My initial impression is that it's a bunch of factoids about one aristocratic family, with some side-notes about allegedly linked assassinations. I'm not impressed, but we'll see what the last few minutes hold.

Akusai said...

Tom:

I think, after reading your last post, that I gave Debra more credit than I should have (amazing, really), because you're right: she never actually did articulate any position outside of "I'm afraid and I horde canned goods."

I guess when I saw her conspirator name-dropping, I read into it that she was making the claim "These people run the world secretly." But she never actually said that. She just said "Rothchilds. Illuminati. Bohemian group," and left it at that.

Well, before she displayed just how completely off her rocker she really is.

So I hope nobody took it poorly when I said maybe they didn't recognize the names. I didn't mean to say "The rest of you are dumb and I know more," and I'm sorry if it came off that way. It was a sad attempt, really, to say to Debra "Just because I don't believe what you believe doesn't mean I'm ignorant about the subject matter."

Ryan said...

Wow I missed this one by a few days. I don't think I would've spent much time on it.

My retort to "go google (woo)" is usually "go google (woo) is bullshit". There, we're even.